Letters to the Editor: How to save public schools in rural California — and everywhere else

Students arrive at the start of school at Alturas Elementary School in Alturas, Calif, on May 18.
Students arrive at the start of school at Alturas Elementary School in Alturas, Calif, on May 18.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Rural California certainly has its unique problems attracting teachers, as your article on public schools in Alturas, a small town in the state’s far northeast, clearly stated. But the entire state is in desperate need.

As an educator with more than 30 years of experience, I have a few ideas on how to attract more young people to the profession:

  • Remove the graduate year requirement for a teaching credential. Make it an undergraduate program where a bachelor’s degree would suffice. Currently, college students must take at least a year of graduate school to obtain a credential. Let’s eliminate that and weave student teaching into an undergraduate program.
  • Restore discipline and authority back into the classroom. The discipline pendulum has swung too far in one direction, where unruly students are sent right back to class with no consequences given. There is little recourse for a teacher.
  • Increase teacher pay. Why would college students choose teaching when they can work in other fields and earn substantially more?

These ideas are in no particular order, but all three would help recruit college students into the profession.

Ray Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga



To the editor: My great-great-grandfather homesteaded in Modoc County (Fort Bidwell, more precisely — current population 180) in 1863. There is great beauty there, and though I have wonderful memories of summer visits to the family ranch as a child, I also know how isolated the area can feel.

It’s unfortunately not surprising that hiring and keeping teachers in the area’s public schools is an ongoing issue.

As a former teacher, I applaud the Modoc Joint Unified School District for doing the right thing for students by scrapping transitional kindergarten even though this violates state law. The one-size-fits all policy does no service to children in districts like Modoc Joint Unified, and I hope the state will consider adjustments to the universal transitional kindergarten requirement.

Robbie Davis, Pasadena